The Empire Test Pilots’ School (ETPS) has been recognized by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) as an Approved Training Organisation (ATO), certified to train test pilots to civil standards.
The accreditation means ETPS is one of three schools in the world, and the first in the UK, able to provide test pilots with course completion certificates needed to obtain civil Flight Test Ratings in compliance with new EASA regulations.
Paul Shakespeare, head of ETPS at QinetiQ, which manages the school in partnership with the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD), said, “All civilian test pilots in Europe, such as those working in-house for aircraft manufacturers or graduates seeking commercial work, must now receive training from an accredited school. Our ability to provide this vital training will be greatly welcomed by our existing customers, and will create growth opportunities in new international markets as companies and individuals react to the new EASA rules.”
The accreditation supports the school’s continuing modernization program, under which QinetiQ and the MoD are investing £85m (US$105m) to transform its courses and the air fleet used to deliver them. The program is part of a £1bn contract, announced in December 2016, which ensures QinetiQ will continue to manage ETPS until at least 2028.
Implementation of the modernization program began in January 2016 with the purchase of two Pilatus PC-21 fixed wing aircraft, destined to carry out duties currently performed by an aging fleet that includes Hawks and Alpha Jets.
Shakespeare added, “We have listened to our customers and refreshed our approach to focus more on the things that matter to them. While we continue to deliver the military training for which we are renowned, civilian trainees will benefit from shorter and more flexible courses, enabling a better balance between learning and working. Newer, more advanced aircraft and updated teaching methods will keep ETPS at the forefront of test aircrew training, reasserting the reputation for excellence we have maintained for nearly 75 years.”
QinetiQ expects to make more announcements about the new ETPS fleet over the next few weeks, such as signing with Airbus to take four H125 helicopters.
March 1, 2017